Did you know that the World Bank is involved in tiger conservation?
Who would have thought that all those financiers had a passion for our stripy four pawed friends?
Back in 2008, the World Bank joined the Global Environment Facility, the Smithsonian Institution, Save the Tiger Fund and the International Tiger Coalition (which represents over 40 non-government organisations. And the Global Tiger Initiative was launched. It’s led by the 13 tiger range countries.
In November 2010, leaders of these tiger range countries got together in St Petersburg in Russia. At this International Tiger Forum, they adopted the St Petersburg Declation on Tiger Conservation. And they endorced the Global Tiger Recovery Programme.
The goal of this programme was to double the number of wild tigers across their area by 2022. This would take the number of tigers from 3,200 to over 7,000.
Progress has been made in many tiger range countries:
A 2 week hands-on training for over 800 wildlife conservation professionals was launched. These are from national parks and protected areas in South East Asia. The idea is that they share best practice which could help all the tiger range countries. What’s worked to increase the number of tigers? What hasn’t?
In India, population numbers of tigers have gone up just a whisker over 30% from 2010 to 2015
Nepal has done even better, with a 60% increase in tiger numbers between 2009 and 2012.
Crucially, livelihoods provided under the World Bank/GEF India Ecodevelopment Project led to a group of poachers giving up the practice in the Periyar Tiger Reserve, Kerala.
The Bangladesh Forest Department did a census of Bengal tigers, using the data they got to monitor the size and density of tiger populations in the Bangladesh Sundarbans.
30 Bangladesh forestry department officials undertook a certificate training course on wildlife management at the Wildlife Institute of India. Over 800 forest department officials have had in-country training.
34 subprojects have been implemented on habitat improvement, eco-tourism development and human-wildlife conflict mitigation.
So what challenges lie ahead for tigers??
Threats to Habitats and Connectivity will get worse with rapid infrastructure development and the investment in extractive industries
Poaching and Wildlife Crime Control, especially to monitor trends.
Capacity Building and making sure there are enough resources to boost current efforts and also to develop national centres of excellence.
Scientific Monitoring – results must be monitored so that the right interventions can be made. An example is pinpointing poaching corridors around the world.
Eliminating the demand for tiger products. .
Rebuilding Tiger Populations – it is vital to share current experience and knowledge on how to rebuild tiger populations.